I know, it is supposed to be ‘Kamal’ Hassan and not ‘Kamat’ Hassan. To eradicate any kind of wrong impression let me clarify in the beginning, my readers, that I am the biggest Kamal Hassan fan you can find ever. Before I became a Clint Eastwood fan, much before I became an Al Pacino fan and much much before I became an Anthony Hopkins fan…. I was a Kamal Hasaan fan! A simple fan, who watched all Kamal Hassan films and collected songs from all Kamal Hassan films and sometimes even had fights with Mohan Lal fans and Mammootty fans and Rajni Kanth fans. My room used to have photos of Kamal Hassan everywhere (much to the annoyance of my father who is against all these).
So, explaining all this means, I intend no harm to the fame and image of the ‘Ulaganayagan’ Kamal Hassan in this story.
When I came to Hyderabad, one thing I became interested in other than the Koti/Abids Sunday book market is the chain of Kamat Restaurants. Even though my personal favorite is the one in Abids, near the Ramakrishna Theatre the second best up in the list is the on the AG office road near the State Assembly. I used to drive down the fly over to this restaurant during my Civil Service Coaching days, to have my dose of Masala Dosa and Coffee. It was during one of those trips that I saw this wonder.
As usual, I sat in the extreme corner of the restaurant and ordered for a Masala Dosa and Coffee. ‘Yes. Anything else?’ , came the reply. I looked up and froze. There was none other than Kamal Hassan standing in front of me, wearing Kamat uniform!
‘Ummmm ummmmm’, I mumbled something to the effect of ‘No’ and Kamal Hassan walked away with a smile.
I looked around. There were no spotlights or Cameras. No lightboys, extra artists or director’s crew. Everything is as normal as it could be. The same chaos and same crowd. Most people are regulars or people I have seen in Kamat before at that time. There, again! Kamal Hassan taking order from a table not far from mine and smiling at a kid on the next table. Kamal Hassan (the real one) is famous for his make up tricks and roles demanding complete make over of body and style. Is this another trick of his? Suddenly a panorama of his characters started playing in front of eyes in 3D form…
That was the time the whole city was filled with hoardings of Kamal Hassan’s ‘Raghavan’ a Telugu dubbing of the Tamil film, ‘Vettaiyadu Vilaiyadu’ one of my favorite cop stories ever. This guy looked like Kamal Hassan in that film. The same moustache and hair style. Probably taller than Kamal Hassan. By that time, I came back to normality and fgured out that this is probably some guy who looks like Kamal Hassan.
Anyway, in memory of that day and the funny incident I christened him as ‘Kamat’ Hassan. The last time I checked, in October 2011, Kamal Hassan is still working there and any one who wants to go and have a nice Masala Dosa and Coffee (or anything else from the Menu, for that matter) served by Kamal Hassan should go there.
I hope this could work as a warning to any possible messup.